PRAISE BE TO ZEUS, I DON’T HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT THAT IMBECILE DENNIS RODMAN again, because Sung Yoon Lee has already done it so much better than I could. It’s not an easy thing to write a fat joke with the subtlety a respected academic must use to get invited back on the PBS News Hour to (polemically speaking) deflower those paired with him–or to the Oval Office. Lee not only manages this, he begins with a silly-yet-tragic story about the unlikely friendship between two narcissistic overgrown man-children (one vertically, one not) drawn together across an ocean by a common absence of couth, substance, conscience, and impulse control, and turns this into something that provokes serious thought.
[Photo from Chico Harlan’s twitter feed]
Update: I have no use for Rodman, but really, on reflection, I don’t have it in me to wish him harm, so I removed something I said about him here that I just think was nasty and excessive. I wish Dennis Rodman the infamy he has earned, and that’s plenty.
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YOUR KOREAN WORD OF THE DAY: DONG MU: A reader points me to the fact that North Korea’s semi-official Uriminjokkiri (roughly, “among our race only”), a site targeted at Pyongyang’s South Korean sympathizers, is calling leftist South Korean lawmaker and suspected fifth columnist Lee Seok-ki “comrade,” even as the rest of the Korean left deserts him and distances itself from him (They are shocked, shocked to find North Korean sympathizers here! Your leaflets, sir.). Thanks, reader!
There’s a fair-to-good chance this episode will provoke some introspection among the Korean left about some of the unsavory company it keeps. It would be about damn time, too.
Also, that precious image of Kim Jong Un on the Uriminjokkiri site certainly does evoke the old adage about lipstick on a pig. Dibs on that as my new gravatar.
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NORTH KOREA, SYRIA, AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS: Long-time House staffer and think-tank scholar Dennis Halpin has written this great contribution to our understanding of North Korea’s proliferation links to Syria, and how the inadequacy of our own non-military responses probably looked like a green light to the North Koreans.
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CAMP 22 UPDATE: It’s good to see more journalists asking the right question about Camp 22: what happened to the prisoners?
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THE SOURCE WHO CRIED “PURGE”: The Chosun Ilbo is reporting that Kim Kyok-Sik, mastermind of the Cheonan and Yeongpyeong Island attacks, has been purged. What they fail to mention is that Kim was also reported (probably incorrectly) to have been demoted in 2009, the year before the fateful attacks, and again in June and November 2012.
Among some North Korea watchers, Kim has something of a Keyzer Soze reputation; they get nervous anytime his name is printed. You can read more unverifiable North Korean kremlinology here.
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CHARM OFFENSIVE UPDATE: North Korean construction workers at the Sohae missile test site have been very busy.